Cnoc na dTobar, or Knocknadobar for those of us who don't speak Gaelic, is a beautiful mountain located off of the town, Cahersiveen in County Kerry, Ireland. The first trail option, located on the side of the mountain facing town, is a sacred pilgram site from prehistoric and medieval times. Along the Pilgrim Path of the mountain, which was created in 1885 by Canon Brosnan, a parish priest in Cahersiveen and builder of the Daniel O’ Connell Memorial Church, sits fourteen stations of the cross that travel up the 2,000+ feet of the mountain side.
Cnoc na dTobar was the site of ancient mountain assemblies, one of which being the festival of Lughnasa. The harvest was celebrated on the mountain’s summit where a fire was lit and singing and dance competitions were held.
The views from this mountain are impressive, to say the least. From views across County Kerry and even the Dingle Bay and West Cork, the steep trek up the mountain side is worth the trip. Keep in mind when hiking, the parking lot is just above sea level and the peak of the mountain is right above 2,000+ feet.
Casey and I were in Ireland for the month of August, 2015, for our wedding. We were in the town next to Cahersiveen, Ballinskelligs, also located in County Kerry. During the somewhat stressful process of planning an overseas wedding, we passed this beautiful mountain almost daily running our errands. We decided to take a break from the chaos and backpack to the top and camp for the night.
I should have started by saying, this trek took us two attempts. The first we managed to get off the trail and end up with a heard of not so friendly Irish cows in the "bowl" of the mountain and not able to make it up the steep bank, in the middle of a storm. The second time around we "followed instructions" and located the write marks along the ridge of the mountain side, managing to make it to the top and set up camp. The white marks start at the small parking lot and follow the sheep path up to the ridge.
Now, at this point of our Ireland trip we were addicted to the fresh Guinness and Jameson. So about four hours after setting up camp and enjoying the amazing views and perfect weather, we decided that we could hike into town for a pint. NOTE TO ALL HIKERS: Do not hike down the side of this mountain during sunset. The trek down is a VERY steep trail that you can easily veer off of, which is what we of course did. I promise we didn't have anything to drink yet! Off to the side of the sheep paths down are two cliffs leading into the freezing water.
Needless to say, this was one of the most exciting treks down a mountain I have ever experienced. We ended up finding a way back down to the original path and making it safely back to the car. For trail instructions and different ways up the mountain, click here. There is very limited information on this trek, so usually you go off of word of mouth and what other people did on the trail. The trek along the ridge and back to the car totaled right around 8-miles. If you ever find yourself in southern Ireland and looking for an adventure, this is such a beautiful and historic option.
A very thirsty,
Back Country Momma